Sadly, the word “blessed” is tossed around very flippantly in the world and professing Christianity. Often the word “blessed” is associated with earthly prosperity and happiness. But what does it biblically mean to be blessed?
The next question is this: The word ‘blessed’ is mentioned everywhere in the Bible. It’s used in Christian circles, even by the lost. Now, I didn’t write this question or state these statements. So to say that it’s used in Christian circles, even by the lost, well, typically, I take Christian circles to mean that the people are saved, but I think what it might mean is in church circles where the churches have lost people in them, or even when you have people that are somewhat religiously raised, who are lost. I don’t know what is being assumed there, but the world does use the term ‘blessed’. People talk that way. People in religious circles use it. People out in the world use it. That’s all true. Oftentimes, being blessed, in the estimation of the world, has to do with good health, good relations, wealth, successful career. Of course, health-wealth-prosperity circles, charismatic circles, that’s generally the emphasis.
But what does it truly mean to be blessed in the Bible? So that’s a good question. I like that question. You know what? The word ‘blessed’ is a word that is special. It ought to be precious. And yet, it is flagrantly misused. It is profaned. It is dragged through the mud. Everybody talks about blessed. I remember one time I was out on the streets, evangelizing in San Antonio, and there was a group out there from a different religious group. And I was talking to them, and I was asking some theological questions about what they believed. And I believe I asked a question about what the gospel is. I think they were possibly throwing around the term ‘anointed’. Anointed and blessed, those are two words that just… anyway, I was thinking of the wrong word there.
But let me tell you what it biblically means to be blessed. And you know what? I’m not going to say that if you get a new job, that’s not a blessing. I’m not going to say that if you get a new house, that’s not a blessing. I’m not going to say that. I’m not going to say if grandma dies, and leaves you a sum of money that you never expected, that that might not be a blessing. Now it might be a curse too, I don’t know that, but it could be a phenomenal blessing. And listen, if somebody’s sick and they pray for healing and God heals them, I’m not going to say that’s not a blessing. The problem is when you listen to the health/wealth… so many of these preachers, televangelists, they immediately want to run to money and health and success, and that’s what it’s all about. But when that question comes to me, what does it truly mean to be blessed? My mind immediately went to Romans chapter 4. Let’s turn there.
We’re just going to, very quickly, do a biblical survey on the doctrine of blessed. The term blessed, let’s try to define it. I know that you probably have heard it’s just synonymously compared to happiness. I’m not going to say that there’s not obviously some connection there, but I think it goes beyond that. The idea is, it has to do with being privileged. It has to do with being a recipient of God’s smile, a recipient of God’s good, a recipient of the divine favor. Listen, a lost guy, who may tomorrow die and be in hell, he may be very happy tonight. Sometimes when I just hear it, blessed just basically equated with happiness, it feels too shallow to me. But let’s look at Romans 4. You want to know about blessed? Here it is, verse 6. “David speaks of the blessing of the one whom God counts righteous.” Okay. You want to know what one of the biggest blessings in all the Bible is? It is the blessing that God counts you righteous, even when you have not lived a righteous life.
Brethren, it doesn’t get any better than that. That is the greatest blessing imaginable, that we can do the things we did, live lives like we have lived, break the commandments like we’ve broken, spit in God’s face like we have, turn our backs on Him, raise our fists in rebellion, and yet come to the place where it’s possible for God to designate us as righteous. That is the blessing upon… this is what it says. David speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works. In other words, I become righteous in the sight of God not by my works. Apart from that. Now here it is, verse 7. Now this, of course, is an Old Testament quote from Psalm 32. But Paul loves it so much he brings it right up here when he’s expounding his gospel to the Roman Christians. “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven.” You ever do any lawless deeds? I have. Lots of them. Untold numbers of them. I can never count all of them. Broken the law, that’s what lawless is. It is contrary to the law.
Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven. God doesn’t hold them against us. And whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin. That is the blessing. And then here it is, “Is this blessing only for the circumcised or also for the uncircumcised?” In other words, is it for the Jew only, or is it also for the Gentiles? And he says, this faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness… how was it counted? Before or after he was circumcised? And he says it wasn’t after, it was before. And it was specifically before because it was before he was circumcised. So he was uncircumcised. So it’s for all of us. It’a not partial to just the Jews. Do you want to talk about a blessing? Do you want to talk about an indication of God’s favor, an indication of the divine smile? There it is right there, and it doesn’t get any better than that. It is, that God sent His Son into this world to make it possible for us to have a standing before God to where God isn’t going to hold our sins against us anymore. That is the greatest blessing. That isn’t the only way that God blesses us.
One of the things you’re going to recognize, one of the things you’re going to see, brethren, I’ll tell you this, you go search through your Bibles. Search through your New Testaments and find out how often blessing is connected with wealth. I mean, physical, earthly wealth. I don’t think you’re going to find it. How often is it connected with being healthy? I don’t think you’re going to find it. You know what you find? You find it’s connected to having your sins forgiven. No matter how much money you have, oh, better to be a poor pauper, better to be in the poor house, better to be without a job, no money in the bank, and have all your sins forgiven. Better to be sick with cancer and to be unsuccessful, and to have all your sins pardoned and cast behind God’s back, than to have all that stuff. That stuff is a shallow blessing compared to this.
Here’s another one, Matthew chapter 11. By the way, when you get these statements in Scripture that talk about certain people being blessed, we call those beatitudes. And I’ll show you one here in Matthew 11 verse 6. Who is the truly blessed man or the truly blessed woman? “Blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.” You know what? That one doesn’t get rehearsed a whole lot among the health, wealth, prosperity preachers. And yet you want to know who the blessed people are in the world? The blessed people in this world are the people who don’t trip over Christ. They don’t stumble over Christ. They’re not offended by Christ. They’re not ashamed of Christ. That’s what He says here. Let me ask you this, Blessed is the one who is not offended in Me, or offended by Me. What do you think that is? What does that look like? Who is this person? What does it look like not to be offended by Christ? What would be true of the life, or not true of the life?
Not ashamed to confess Him before men.
That would be one thing. You’re not afraid to speak up for Him. You’re not afraid to tell people what He said. You’re not afraid to tell people who He is. And I’ll tell you this, you’re not afraid to tell people that He is the only way that a person can have eternal life, and that without Him you can’t. And it doesn’t matter whether you are a follower of Mohammed and Allah, it doesn’t matter if you’re following Joseph Smith, it doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist, it doesn’t matter. There is life. There is one way to God. There is one truth. And Christ is at the center of this. Christ is the only Savior of mankind. So yes, that’s the reality. Blessed is that person. I’ll tell you this, that person who is going to proclaim Christ even though they get mocked, even though they get laughed at, even though they get harassed, even though people want to distance themselves, even though there’s persecution that comes, oh, what a glorious day it will… You have to recognize what it means when Scripture says Blessed. It means it is going to turn out so good for you in the end. It means that God is going to be for you, and God is going to reward you, and God is on your side. You want to be blessed by God.
And what we saw is this, you’re blessed if He counts you righteous, and you’re blessed if you’re not offended in Christ. This is the way Scripture speaks. How about Matthew 13 verse 16. Here’s another one, another beatitude: “Blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” Right before this He says this, this is the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah. He says, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart have grown dull. You know, what you need to recognize is this: You know who is really blessed in this world? People that have heard the teaching of the word of God and have understood it. Because do you recognize the vast multitudes that come across the Word of God, they do not understand it. They do not understand it savingly. They do not hear the truths. I mean, they don’t have ears to hear. They hear, but they don’t have eyes to see. They remain in the dark. They remain deceived. The remain believing a lie.
Blessed are your eyes. Oh brethren, I can tell you. Some of us we know this. We know that this was a dead letter to us, and that day came when suddenly this book… Ruby, my wife, describes it as like she was sitting there in a room that was dark, and somebody turned the light on. Maybe for some of us, the light came on more like the rising of the sun, than the immediate shining of a light at the throw of a switch. But the reality is, oh, I remember as a kid, going with my parents to a nursing home, where my stepdad’s mom was. And they had a track rack there. I don’t know who did it. But I remember getting these portions of Scripture, a lot of times they were Psalms. And I remember reading them, and it was like foreign. My wife was telling me just recently, she was talking to somebody who sat in one of our services. And Ruby was saying that right there at the end of one of those messages, she felt like the gospel had very clearly been stated. And she was talking to a woman afterwards, and the woman said I couldn’t understand a thing your husband was saying.
I was just telling somebody recently the story… I remember riding the truck with my dad one time. And I had what I believed… I purposely did this. I knew I was going to have time with my dad. I knew we were going to drive somewhere together. And so I specifically went through my literally hundreds of MacArthur sermons. And I found the one that I thought out of all of them was the clearest gospel presentation. It was back in the day of casette tapes. And I took that tape, and when my dad and I were driving along, I stuck that tape in, and I said, “Dad, I want you to listen to this.” And I am sitting there, driving along, just rejoicing, thinking this is so clear. My dad could not hear a more clear gospel message. After about 5 or 10 minutes, my dad reached over in disgust, and he ejected the tape. He said, “I cannot understand a single word that man is saying.”
Brethren, I’ll tell you this, do not take it for granted if you are able to understand what Scripture says. For you to look into this book and see this for what it is, Jesus says this… He recognizes right off that there are a lot of people who they hear, but they do not understand, and they see but they do not perceive. And He said, “If you can, you’re blessed.” So you see what’s happening. Who are the blessed people? Who are counted righteous, whose sins are not counted against them. Also, those who are not offended at Christ. Also, those who see these truths and have a grasp. What else? How about John 13. John 13:17, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Wow, you got it like this, because the last one was, “Look, you’re blessed if you perceive these things, if you have eyes that see.” But you know what? He takes us further right here. He says, “If you know these things, that’s good, but you’re blessed if you do them.” Do what? Well, the things we’ve been talking about. He says, “I’ve given you an example. Wash your feet.” I mean, again it comes to loving each other, to laying down our lives, serving one another. He says, “If you know these things, you’re blessed if you do them.”
You don’t want to just be hearers, you want to be doers. Those are the blessed people. The blessed people are the people who’ve been so impacted by the Word of God and by the God of the Word that they’re not just hearers. The Word abides in them. That’s what Jesus says, that wise man who builds his house on a rock, he hears the word of God and he does it. That’s the wise man and that’s the blessed person. Well, I guess I would just turn this around. The opposite of blessing is cursing. You obviously know that. The Scripture says, “Woe, woe, woe.” Cursing. If blessing is basically to be a recipient of the divine favor, then you know what woe is or what curse is. To be cursed is the opposite of blessed. Woe is the opposite of blessed. That’s the idea that you don’t have the favor of God.
We’ll just end right here, look at Luke chapter 6. The reason I want to look here is because these health, wealth, prosperity guys, they want us to believe, oh, if you’re really blessed of God, God will heal you. If you’re really blessed of God, you’re going to be successful. If you’re really blessed of God, you can name it and claim it. You know what’s very interesting? God’s word tells us you’re blessed if you’re poor in spirit. You’re blessed if you’re merciful. You’re blessed if you’re meek. You’re blessed if you hunger and thirst after righteousness. You’re blessed if you’re a peacemaker. You’re blessed if you’re persecuted. They don’t typically put that one in there. Notice Luke 6:24. Here are the woes. These are the opposite of the blessings. If you go to verse 20 of Luke 6, it says, “Blessed are you who are poor. Blessed are you who are hungry. Blessed are you who weep.” Is this what the health, wealth, prosperity guys tell us? It’s just the opposite. Blessed are you when all people hate you, exclude you, revile you, spurn your name as evil on account of the Son of man. Rejoice.
I mean, you want to talk about blessed, He says, “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For so their fathers did to the prophets.” Okay, now let’s get to the curses. Woe, that means cursed, to you who are rich, to you who are full now, you who laugh now and all people speak well of you. You see, it’s just the opposite of what the world says, and it’s the opposite of what these false teachers say. Brethren, they’ve got it all backwards. We need to be able to see these things through the proper lenses. There is a blessed man. You want to read about the blessed man, you can go back to Psalm chapter 1. You can go to the beatitudes in Matthew 5. There is a blessed man, there is a blessed woman. But it’s not by the definition of the world and not by the definition of so many false teachers and preachers today. Anyway, that’s a snapshot of what the Bible counts as being blessed. Anybody have any additional comments to that? Did I put everybody to sleep?
Obviously, I can think of someone like Mary. When Mary starts to give praises to the Lord, amd says, “Now all generations will call me blessed,” and a lot of the catholics will then refer to Mary being the blessed Mary. And she’s kind of referred to as that. But the rest of the context, she doesn’t really mention all the fact that she’s being impregnated with the Holy Spirit. She actually speaks about God being her Savior. And I like that because that kinda drives home lot of the other truths that you said about being blessed, the fact that Mary recognized she was blessed because of what God has done for her in salvation and not necessarily what happened to her in this miracle.
Yeah, listen to this, because that is something to think about. Here’s Mary. Mary, in her magnificant, it’s Luke chapter 1. And actually in Luke 1:42, Elizabeth is the one who says blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And verse 45, “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” And so, yes, Scripture speaks about the blessing. But listen, I mean, we have to recognize, was she blessed? I mean, did God show favor to her? Undoubtedly. I mean, think about the privilege that she had. She had the privilege to raise a perfect child, who is the God-man. Not everybody gets that privilege. We don’t want to take the blessing further than what we ought to. We don’t want to take it where the Catholics take it. She says this, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
So, one of the things she’s acknowledging right off is she needs a Savior. God, my Savior. He has looked on the humble estate. She recognizes she’s a nobody, and she’s admitting it. She doesn’t think she’s anybody great. And she says this, “From now on all generations will call me blessed,” why? “for He who is mighty has done great things for me.” And that’s a pretty great thing, that the God-man is suddenly showing up in her womb. No man involved. Miraculous. Fulfilment of Isaiah 7. His mercy is for those who fear Him. She recognizes she’s a vessel of mercy. “He has shown strength with His arm; scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate.” I mean, do you realize what’s happening? God is in the midst of changing the whole course of the world… listen to what she says, “He has filled the hungry with good things.” Well, who’s the hungry? She is. “The rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy.”
You realize what’s happening? Christ is coming on the scene. They’d been waiting for the Messiah. All the women of Israel wanted to mother the Messiah. And here, God is changing redemptive history. The greatest event in all of redemptive history is at hand. I mean, this is the greatest event in all of human history, and the most important three decades, these 30 years of Christ’s life, in all of time. And where is God? Where is God at work? A barren, old lady, and what? I mean, two obscure women. One old, barren, beyond her age. And the other, a young virgin, who herself recognizes she’s nobody great. She’s the wife of a carpenter. And this is where God is at work. You gotta recognize that God pours His blessing out on the kind of people that the world isn’t overly impressed with. Well, that’s all for tonight, folks.